Compas

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The sauce ladle still vexes me. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, not yet anyway. One thing that I do know for sure is that the more I look, the more I find and the more I find, the greater my desire to understand how and why this works.

I acquired this compass at an estate sale. Since Arizona has become the new Florida in terms of desirable places to retire, there is an abundance of souls departing the earth from this station. The things they leave behind (which is all their worldly possessions) are swiftly sold to the highest bidder by their surviving relatives.

I remember going to one such sale. After walking through the house and perusing the personal effects of some anonymous old man, I said to the gentleman running the sale, “Someone died in this house.” He could neither confirm nor deny the fact. Surprised at my statement, he said, “To tell you the truth, I really don’t know. We just run the sale, the family doesn’t usually give us that kind of information.”

The reason I asked the gentleman running the sale this question (as I exited the house) was because the house felt different to me, not like others I’d visited looking for items. When I entered, I felt like I was stepping over the threshold of a mortuary right in the middle of a viewing. It was like an eerie, somber silence filled every corner of every room. The other people who were shopping the possessions of the deceased were quiet and reserved, no one spoke above a loud whisper. Who knows, I just observe and feel what other people are numb to.

Let’s see what this little compas has to tell me. I examined it closely. It’s tough to tell by looking at it how much use it got. The piece of lead still in it is less than a half inch long. The body is stainless steel. On one side the number 54 is engraved along with the initials PTS. On one side of the thumb wheel are the words VEMCO and Pasadena.

-I see a man sitting at a desk or horizontal table. There’s a bright lamp in front of him, in the center of the table but not on it, maybe a floor lamp. The words “Drafting table” come through loud and clear.

– Large sheets of white paper, one is taped to the drafting table, by the corners. The tape is narrow and blue. There is a circle on the paper, somewhere near the center.

-The words, Chrysler LaBarron”   There’s a cup on the edge of the table in front of him, to the right of the lamp. It’s full of other drafting tools, weird looking metal pencils and other things with knobs on the sides.

-“Link Pin” comes as words when I ask what’s on the paper. I see an image of the circle in the center of the paper with some horizontal lines of different lengths next to it, on the right, one is at an angle.

-“1994” comes as words when I ask the date. “June 9th” comes as words. I get the impression that I’m not in the house I bought it in. He lived somewhere else when he used this compas the most.

-There is a degree hanging on the wall behind him, to his left. It’s in a nice frame. “Dixon” comes as words, then “Straup”(spelling could be different, but sounds like this), “Paul T.” “Masters of engineering”  Then the word “Illinois.”

-A filing cabinet full of papers. Lots of papers on a shelf. Big papers, things he’s drawn, pictures. One of them is a hubcap design.

-Mary is his wife’s name. They were married 47 years when she died, he finished his life alone. He sits on a stool behind his drafting table, not in a chair. “Roll up my sleeves and get to work,” he would say often.  “Brandy,” He’d drink it when he was all done working. He made a lot of money as an engineer, “$103,000.00” comes as words.

– Something plagued his health, even then he knew he was sick. Paid lots of doctor bills. “Leukemia,” came as words.

-I see him drawing gears with his compas, “Ring and Pinion,” comes as words.

There’s probably lots more, but out of respect for the dead, I’m going to stop here. Now I get to look and see if anything I got is quantifiable. Dixon Illinois has a college that teaches engineering. There is also a Dixon college. The compas checks out as being old, can’t get an exact date but based on the box it was sold in, it’s old enough, 50’s or 60’s I’d say.

Dixon Illinois has a college that teaches engineering. There is also a Dixon college. The compas checks out as being old, can’t get an exact date but based on the box it was sold in, it’s old enough, 50’s or 60’s I’d say.